The appeals case of three netizens who have received worldwide attention for being good samaritans of the Internet has concluded. A court in Fujiang Province on June 28 upheld the original court ruling of Nov. 11, 2009–that of finding the defendants guilty–with the judge dismissing the appeals case.
The trial verdict sentenced Ms. Fan Yanqiong to two years incarceration, while Mr. You Jingyou and Mr. Wu Huaying each received one year.
The three netizens exposed on the Internet, the death of 25-year-old Yan Xiaoling nearly a year ago. Ms. Fan posted a letter for Yan’s mother, claiming that her daughter was forced into prostitution by a local hoodlum. The letter states that in February 2008, Yan was repeatedly raped by eight men, some of whom were local officials and police, and that she had died as a result of the brutality inflicted upon her.
The victim’s uterus had been removed, and the authorities claimed that she had died of an ectopic pregnancy. The local police denied any wrong doing and then arrested the three netizens, who were charged with libel. On July 31, 2008 the charge was changed to that of malicious accusation.
Attorney Dou Yonggang from Guangdong Province released an article that addressed the mistakes made during in the trial. Dou said that the biggest problem was that “the court did not investigate what the cause of death was for Yan. They accused the netizens of fabricating the information that she had died of complications from rape, at the hands of police and gang members.”
In the court verdict, it was stated that “the police held press conferences to clear the case,” and “in Fuzhou, offices involved had held press conferences, disclosing the truth behind Yan’s death.” The court upheld the conclusion of reports from police and city offices, dismissing the defendants’ statements, without providing specific facts or quoting any laws.
Jin Guanghong, Mr. Wu’s attorney told The Epoch Times that the guilty verdicts in the trial and the overturning of the appeals tramples on the rule of law and challenges the right to Internet freedom of speech.
Mr. You’s lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan stated in an article that there were a lot of legal transgressions made by the officers who handled the case. The courts of both the original trial and the appeals case ignored the claim of illegal procedures, and stated in the verdict that all procedures taken had been legal.
Zhang Jianping, the webmaster of "Rights Campaign", a Chinese based advocacy group founded by volunteers in October 2008, said that June 28 was the darkest day since humans entered the Age of the Internet. The "Rights Campaign" proposed to mark the day as a "Day of Mourning for Netizens.”
Read the original Chinese article